I believe in Sunday School classes and small groups. They can be great tools for assisting the church in discipling and shepherding the sheep God has entrusted to us.
Sometimes, however, our methods for reaching, caring, and discipling are poor. Teachers and group leaders can be lazy, apathetic, or untrained. That may be due to poor enlistment, planning, and leadership by staff and ministry leaders.
But this post is not about great quality versus poor quality efforts. Instead, it is about a mistaken mindset that small groups are the goal rather than discipleship. Real Life Ministries wrote a post, Why Small Groups Are Not the Destination, that reminded me of the danger of confusing this issue. Here is the opening paragraph:
One of the main thrusts of DiscipleShift 1 training is the importance of a relational environment to making disciples of Jesus. Small Groups are one such relational environment that works well when trying to create a culture of disciple making in your church. Because they are so often talked about, sometimes people mistakenly get the idea that Small Groups are the goal – that if you are a church that has developed Small Groups you have hit the target.
Sunday School classes and small groups are methods to the means. They are delivery tools to help us reach the destination. But they are not the destination. Jesus sent us into the world to “make disciples of all nations” and nothing less will do.
I want to encourage you to read the entire Real Life post. They point out that the journey toward discipleship requires an intentional leader, a relational environment, and a map (or reproducible process). Go to Why Small Groups Are Not the Destination to read more.
I encourage you to examine your discipleship ministry in light of these three requirements. Where is improvement needed? What steps can you take to address that need? Make disciples!
For more ideas, check out these posts: